President Donald Trump said Monday that the number of coronavirus cases were going down “almost everywhere” — even though an unreleased White House report showed infection rates spiking across the United States.
“We have met the moment, and we have prevailed," Trump told reporters during a White House briefing. The president later added that he was referring to testing, not the virus itself.
Inside the White House, a memo instructed staffers to wear facial coverings and to avoid coming to the West Wing unless it was “absolutely” necessary. The move came after a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence and one of Trump’s personal valets tested positive for the virus.
On Capitol Hill, U.S. Senators will question top health officials on Tuesday about the federal government’s response to the pandemic, though the officials and the subcommittee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., will all appear via videoconference because of potential exposure to the virus.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide, confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally.
- Reopening America: See what states across the U.S. are starting to reopen.
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Sheriff: California inmates tried to infect themselves in hopes of release
A group of Los Angeles County inmates deliberately tried to infect themselves with the coronavirus in a mistaken belief they would be released if they were sick, the sheriff said Monday.
Video released Monday by Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva appeared to show inmates at North County Correctional Facility in Castaic drinking from the same bottle of hot water and taking turns breathing through the same mask.
Villanueva called the behavior disturbing.
"As a direct result of the behavior seen in the video, 21 men tested positive for COVID-19 within a week," he said in a statement.
Organ transplants dive amid virus crisis, start to inch back
WASHINGTON — Organ transplants plummeted as COVID-19 swept through communities, with surgeons wary of endangering living donors and unable to retrieve possibly usable organs from the dead -- and hospitals sometimes too full even when they could.
Deceased donor transplants -- the most common kind -- dropped by about half in the U.S. and 90 percent in France from late February into early April, researchers reported Monday in the journal Lancet.
Transplants from living donors had a similarly staggering dive, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which runs the U.S. transplant system. There were 151 living donor transplants in the U.S. in the second week of March when a pandemic was declared. There were only 16 such transplants the week of April 5, according to UNOS.
It’s too soon to know how many people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant may die not from COVID-19 infection but because the pandemic blocked their chance at a new organ. Kidney transplants make up the vast majority of the drop, but heart, lung and liver transplants declined, too.
IRS sets deadline for relief payment by direct deposit
The Treasury Department and the IRS are urging taxpayers who want to get their economic impact payments directly deposited to their bank accounts to enter their information online by Wednesday.
The government has sent out about 130 million payments in the first four weeks of the program by both direct deposit and by mail.
The IRS said Monday that people should use the “Get My Payment ” tool on the IRS website by noon on Wednesday to provide their direct deposit information.
After that time, the agency will begin preparing millions of files to send to Bureau of Financial Services for paper checks that will begin arriving through late May and into June. The government cannot provide direct deposit once the process of sending a paper check has commenced.
Floridians call for reopening of gyms with #PushUpProtest
Florida gymgoers participated in the #PushUpProtest outside the Pinellas County Courthouse on Monday afternoon to urge elected officials to reopen fitness centers in the state.
Around 20 to 30 people gathered, including Jozef Gherman, one of the founders of "Open Tampa Bay."
Gherman told NBC News the group organized the protest with "Amped Fitness" to "put pressure on our elected leaders and to gather the community around opening up Tampa Bay, restoring our constitutional rights and the ability for businesses to operate."
Gov. Ron DeSantis closed gyms in Florida at the end of March in order to limit the spread of COVID-19; gyms cannot reopen until Phase 2 of his reopening plan.
Gherman said the #PushUpProtest is only one of the protests the group has planned; it is aiming to partner with other small businesses in the area.
Los Angeles County beaches to reopen Wednesday
Los Angeles County beaches will reopen Wednesday with restrictions that prohibit sunbathing and require masks.
Swimming, surfing, running, walking and other "active recreation" will be allowed, but no chairs, canopies, coolers or grills will be permitted. Beach parking lots, boardwalks, bike paths and volleyball courts remain closed.
The beaches were closed in late March to help slow the spread of the coronavirus illness COVID-19.
As of Monday, 32,258 COVID-19 cases have been identified across the county, with 1,569 deaths, according to the county health department.
Santa Monica is among the beaches that will reopen, that city said. Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery in a statement said people should obey health department guidelines or the easing may be short-lived.
"If beach visitors do not follow all the rules, the State of California or Los Angeles County can once again close our beaches," Montgomery said. "By abiding by these measures, you will play an important role in keeping the beaches open.”
Unreleased White House report shows coronavirus rates spiking in heartland communities
Coronavirus infection rates are spiking to new highs in several metropolitan areas and smaller communities across the country, according to undisclosed data the White House's pandemic task force is using to track rates of infection, which was obtained by NBC News.
The data in a May 7 coronavirus task force report are at odds with President Donald Trump's declaration Monday that "all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly."
Study: Virus death toll in NYC worse than official tally
New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus may be thousands of fatalities worse than the tally kept by the city and state, according to an analysis released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between March 11 and May 2, about 24,000 more people died in the city than researchers would ordinarily expect during that time period, the report said.
That’s about 5,300 more deaths than were blamed on the coronavirus in official tallies during those weeks.
Some of those excess fatalities could be COVID-19 deaths that went uncounted because a person died at home, or without medical providers realizing they were infected, the researchers at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said.
It might also represent a ripple effect of the health crisis, they wrote. Public fear over contracting the virus and the enormous strain on hospitals might have led to delays in people seeking or receiving lifesaving care for unrelated conditions like heart disease or diabetes.
How to avoid coronavirus risks as U.S. reopens
New York will no longer require nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients from hospitals
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a requirement for hospital patients to test negative for the coronavirus before they can be discharged to nursing homes. This effectively reversed a much-criticized state policy that required long-term care facilities to accept recovering patients who may still test positive for COVID-19.
Cuomo, a Democrat, announced the change Sunday, along with a requirement for all New York nursing homes and adult care facilities to test staff members for COVID-19 twice a week and report positive cases to the state.
"We're just not going to send a person who is positive to a nursing home after a hospital visit. Period," he said during a news conference.